Haast World Heritage Area
The Haast area is comprised of small settlements including Haast township, Haast Junction and Haast Beach. Local services include a general store, service stations, gallery and gift store, dining and accommodation in Haast. Haast is West Coast Whitebait country so it is widely available here.
For a fabulous whitebait pattie call into the Curly Tree Whitebait Company, the Fantail cafe or the Otoko espresso for a real local treat in simply the best environment in which to enjoy this delectable delicacy.
Haast has had a series of settlers passing through in search of pounamu, gold, deer and timber.
In the 1860's German explorer Julius von Haast named the Haast Pass and tourism began in the Haast area as early as 1890's as Scottish born Charlie Douglas AKA Mr Explorer Douglas' tirelessly explored and surveyed the area. Adventurous souls followed his footsteps.
Haast and its many waterways The Hapuka Estuary Walk just south of Haast also has panels interpreting the historic aspects of the Open Bay Islands where ten men in a sealing gang were stranded for three years with little provisions.
Haast has a spot in aviation history as well as the first commercial flight in New Zealand was into Haast by pilot Bert Mercer in 1934, in a DH83 Fox Moth.
The Haast Pass Highway was finally opened in 1965, creating a vital road link between Wanaka in Central Otago with Haast.
The Maori had always used the Haast Pass for trade and had named it "Tiori-patea" meaning "the way ahead is clear."
In 1990, 2.6 million hectares in Haast was declared the South West New Zealand UNESCO World Heritage Area which gave international recognition to the outstanding natural values of the area.